Every summer we plan a trip for one week while our boys are at their grandparent’s house. This year we knew we wanted to pick a location that was an easy drive from Nashville. We landed on Hot Springs, Arkansas and I’m so glad we did. It’s a beautiful landscape and history lured me in. This city did not disappoint!
Whether you’re planning a family vacation or a romantic getaway like us, Hot Springs is a great destination. It’s now one of our favorite cities in the South. In this travel guide, I’ll share our favorite tourists’ spots, restaurants, hotels, and more!
GARVAN WOODLAND GARDENS
Garvan Woodland Gardens is a MUST-SEE! As I searched through #visithotsprings on Instagram, this place came up constantly. There are over 200 acres of botanical gardens, stunning architecture, and beauty to take in. The Anthony Chapel was the main reason I wanted this to be one of our stops. It was absolutely breathtaking. If you want to see more, head over to my Instagram and watch through the “Hot Springs” highlight as I walk y’all through the chapel.
Bathhouse Row was an absolute favorite! I’m a sucker for historical buildings and learning about the stories behind them. Located along Central Avenue, there are eight bathhouses that were built between the late 1800s and early 1900s. Walking through a few of these gave us a little glimpse into that era and it was pretty amazing. You can see read more about the history of these buildings here.
MAGIC SPRINGS THEME & WATER PARK
Magic Springs is Arkansas’ only theme and water park. If you’re coming to Hot Springs, this needs to be on your list of things to do. We went just the two of us, but our boys would’ve loved it. They had several rides for kids and the water park is very family-friendly. Tickets include all-day use of the thrill rides, water slides, concerts, attractions, and special events.
We split it up into two days but could have easily enjoyed the entire park in one. We did a little thrill-seeking with the rollercoasters. The next day we spent several hours at the water park. We had a cabana by the pool which was so nice. The perks were definitely the privacy and having our lunch delivered to us. We spent the rest of the afternoon on the lazy river and riding the tube water slides. Such a fun day!
HOT SPRINGS MOUNTAIN TOWER
Hot Springs Mountain Tower is the place to be if you want to see all of the city. It’s absolutely breathtaking with the panoramic views that cover 140 miles of the Ouachita Mountains, Hot Springs Mountain, and Diamond Lakes area. Make sure you stop at the lookout point before heading up to the tower.
Here were a few favorites:
Deluca’s Pizza – Incredible pizzas, burgers, desserts, and drinks. This was definitely a trendy, popular spot. The owner was so nice. Even though they were busy, he made a point to introduce himself and talk with us for a short time. If you love veggies like me, try their veggie pizza that’s off the menu. It had a little bit of spice and the flavor was phenomenal.
Bubbalu’s – Burgers, Hot Dogs, and Milkshakes. We stopped by here for lunch after we left Bathhouse Row. It reminded me of a cute, old diner. Daniel said their chicken sandwich was amazing.
Kilwins – Fudge, truffles, ice cream, and more. This place never disappoints. If you’ve got a sweet tooth, you’re not going to want to miss this one. Make sure to try my favorite… mocha truffles and dark chocolate truffles, dark chocolate sea salt apples, and caramel salted Oreos.
FAT BOTTOMED GIRLS CUPCAKES
Fat Bottomed Girls Cupcakes – Cupcakes, candy, and treats. I tried the lavender cupcake which was so yummy! We also grabbed some goodies from the candy wall to take to our boys. This bakery was featured on Cupcake Wars, which is pretty neat!
SUPERIOR BATHHOUSE BREWERY
Superior Bathhouse Brewery– This historic bathhouse turned small craft brewery was amazing! It had the feel of an old bathhouse but when you walk into the bar, you get an insider’s view. They’re the world’s first brewery to utilize thermal spring water as the main ingredient.
The food was incredible from appetizer to dessert. If you’re a beer lover, you’ll love it. Here’s a little tip, order the root beer float. It might’ve been my favorite. We also got a flight of four beers to try and they were all so different. Such a fun experience!
THE HOTEL HOT SPRINGS
The Hotel Hot Springs – The location of this hotel is perfect! Just steps away from Central Avenue, you can walk to restaurants, bars, shopping, and more. Ask for a room on one of the top floors. The views are incredible! We could see Bathhouse Row and Hot Springs Mountain Tower. This hotel’s prices are amazing for the quality of the rooms. We ate breakfast in their restaurant and at night had a cocktail while we listened to the live music! We were so happy we started our stay here.
OAKLAWN RACING CASINO RESORT
Oaklawn Racing Casino Resort – The resort and spa are brand new as of this summer. Everything was so nice and clean. Located about five to ten minutes from the downtown area, you can easily just spend the entirety of your stay on the property. We spent the last two days at the Oaklawn and focused on relaxing.
We heard their restaurant, The Buglar, was great but it had strange hours and it wasn’t open at all during our stay. The casino and Big Al’s Diner are open 24/7, so there’s always entertainment and food at your disposal.
The bed was very comfortable, so we took advantage of the room service and ate a few meals in the room, and watched some movies. Something about not having to get out of bed, eating a meal that you didn’t make, and then not having to share it with kids makes it so delish and enjoyable.
Aside from the room, my favorite thing about the Oaklawn was their Astral Spa. If you go to Hot Springs, do yourself a favor and book a treatment here. I splurged and booked a facial and massage. Once those were finished, I had full access to the spa’s incredible amenities which include a needle shower, steam room, infrared sauna, whirlpool, and a cold room. This is the place to be pampered!
We thoroughly enjoyed our visit to Hot Springs. We fit a lot into a few days but still missed out on a few things. Next time we will plan to hike in Hot Springs National Park, visit the Ohio Club and The Gangster Museum, and rent a boat at the Hot Springs Marina.
Other accommodations that we will check out for our next stay:
The Reserve at Hot Springs is a one-hundred-year-old boutique hotel. Sadly, we only learned about this by passing it on our way to the Oaklawn. I would’ve loved to visit this historic estate. It was so beautiful!
Hopefully, this travel guide helps walk you through this beautiful town. If you plan a trip, I’d love to hear what your itinerary will be! If you’ve been before, what are your favorite spots? Also, y’all be sure to keep an eye out for all of the incredible murals along Central Avenue. Happy traveling, friends!
This is a sponsored post by Visit Hot Springs. All opinions are my own. A special thanks to Hotel Hot Springs, Magic Springs Theme & Water Park, Deluca’s Pizza, Superior Bathhouse Brewery, Garvan Woodland Gardens, and Hot Springs Mountain Tower for making our trip so memorable. Check out Visit Hot Springs to learn all about this amazing city and all it has to offer year-round.